Children's Day Surgery: What to Expect
On this page, learn about:
Two of a Kind
There are two types of patients who come to our Day Surgery Center:
Typical Day of Surgery
The following schedule is a general overview that should help you and your child understand just what happens on a typical day of surgery. Please keep in mind that some things may vary depending on each individual situation.
Registration: You and your child will enter the hospital through the Patient Registration entrance. Simply travel up the escalator or elevator to the Day Surgery registration desk, speak with the receptionist to let her know you have arrived, and have a seat in the waiting room.
You will be given a pager that will keep you updated about your child's surgery. An admitting counselor will verify all patient information in the computer. You will also be asked to sign consents for treatment and insurance billing.
Pre-Op Area: Next, you will be directed to the pre-op (pre-operation) area, where someone will check your child's weight and take you to the pediatric pre-op area. There your child will change into a patient gown or "hospital pajamas."
Younger children can then go to the playroom or computer to play. We also offer age-appropriate activities for young adults.
In the pre-op area, you will meet with your child's pre-op nurse, doctor, anesthesiologist and other surgical staff. You will be asked several questions, many of which will probably be repeated. We want to make sure we have accurate information to ensure quality care. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
The nurse will give your child a quick pre-op check-up. Then a child life specialist will meet with you both to help calm any fears your child may have and to help your child know what to expect, using developmentally helpful language and teaching materials.
She can also teach your child ways to cope with the different "hard parts" of the day. Children usually do better if they know what will happen, how it will feel, and what they are expected to do.
A pediatric patient reads a book
with a child life specialist in the
playroom before his surgery
Two family members are allowed to be with the child or teen in the pre-op area. Operating room nurses will escort your child from the pre-op area to the procedure room.
Do not bring food or drink into this area for infection control reasons and as a courtesy for patients who cannot eat or drink.
During Surgery / Waiting Room: After your child goes to the Operating Room, please return to the waiting room. The pager, given to you at registration, will go off when the doctor is ready to speak to you, and again when it is time to be with your child in recovery.
Families should wait in this area until surgery is over. A parent or caregiver will need to remain in the waiting room at all times while your child is in surgery. We need to be able to find you if there are concerns.
The surgeon will discuss your child's procedure with you in the waiting room after surgery. While you're waiting, we suggest you make a list of any questions you want to ask your child's physician or nurse.
After Surgery - Outpatients Only: A patient's stay in the recovery room may be as little as 30-45 minutes or up to two hours.
Your child may still be sleepy when discharged. Most children will be able to have juice or soda to drink during recovery. We also have popsicles available. Milk products (and formula) are not given immediately following surgery.
Discharge Information: You will receive verbal and written discharge instructions about caring for your child at home, as well as any necessary prescriptions. Most of the operations performed in day surgery require very little physical care, other than the occasional bandage changes.
You will be given the telephone numbers of the surgeon and anesthesiologist on call if you have any questions later in the day. A nurse will call you to ask how you and your child are doing the day after surgery.
A pediatric patient in the
recovery room after his surgery
Other Helpful Hints
- When possible, two adults should escort your child home, so one can drive while the other cares for the child.
- You or another responsible adult should plan to stay with your child or teen during the first 24 hours following surgery.
- Ask the doctor when your child can resume normal activities, such as play, school, exercise or work.
- Teens of driving age need to avoid driving for the first 24 hours.
- Due to the effects of post-surgery medication, the child should avoid the use of appliances or machinery.
Reading About Hospitals
There are several books you can read to your child before his/her surgery date. Check with your local library for a complete listing. Helpful websites include: